Supporting The Art Community in Tengenenge, Zimbabwe
Wilfred Tembo was born on the 5th of May 1965 in Centenary, belonging to the Tembo totem of the Chewa tribe. In 1972, he attend Dandamera school in Concession for his primary education, but unfortunately he could not finish primary level before the liberation struggle broke out. He became enrolled at Matanda store where he was learning tailoring before switching to electricity in 1978. After completing the course he went to Penrose Farm where he was employed as a farm clerk from 1978 to 1983. Before the end of 1983, he went to Mhangura where he was employed as a driver in Mbohwe rural council for two years until he transferred to Harare where he got engaged in horse training. In 1987 he was employed as a horse trainer at Centenary Country Club. He was looking after the horses until he quitted in 1992. Afterwards he spent increasingly time on making wooden chairs and mending old tins. Later he started creating wooden sculptures such as tortoise, lions and crocodiles.
In 1993, Wilfred visited his uncle at Mangondo farm in Guruve who told him about the Tengenenge Art Centre. Thereafter, Wilfred went to Tengenenge with his wooden sculptures and showed them to Tom Blomesfield who was satisfied by his works. The director gave him a stand to exhibit his sculptures and encouraged him to start working on stones. In 1994 he created his first two sculptures out of stone, a cat as well as a chair, both of which he could sell immediately after completion. He became famous for his chairs with one chair being presented to the parliament in June 2006, being offered to Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Thanks to his skills he was invited to attend a workshop in the Netherlands in 2000 and 2001. Later on in 2004, he joined the NAMA awards competition that was held in Harare, where he received the second price.
Wilfred is married to Esteri Mutandagavi and he is a father of four boys and one girl.
Sculptures of Wilfred Tembo